To start with, we have an AWESOME pediatrician. We attended a conference at Phoenix Children's Hospital a couple of weeks ago, specifically about cerebral palsy, and our pediatrician (Dr. Wendy) spoke about primary care. Her focus was on coordination of care, like being at the head of everything and managing all the appointments with specialists, prescriptions that are written, and changes that are made in the management of care. When the question and answer portion of the morning came, people raised their hands and asked her, "how do we get our pediatrician to do that???" I didn't realize that other doctors DON'T do that. We've always had Wendy and Wendy's always been our contact person for everything. I can email Wendy anytime of day and she is always good about getting back to me within hours...even if it's a Sunday or she's on vacation. When I needed to change something for Sadie regarding GI, I contacted Wendy because contacting the GI doctor would mean leaving a message for the nurse who then would leave a message for the doctor and it could be an entire day before the nurse got back to me (if I was able to take the phone call) and then the answer probably wouldn't make sense because the doctor didn't understand the question. But Wendy was able to take care of the whole matter, including communicating with the GI doctor, within 48 hours. I've emailed her pictures of a rash or what I think might be an infection so she knows whether we need to come in or not, she calls prescription refills in to the pharmacy when I ask, and she gives me hugs (especially when I cry). I feel like she's more than my child's doctor, she is my friend, and Brian and I's partner in this business of raising a special needs child.
Sadie has 5 therapies a week. She sees a developmental vision therapist from Foundation for Blind Children on Tuesdays. Thursday mornings she has occupational therapy who works on sensory issues and spends a lot of time focusing on Sadie's hands (fists) and putting weight through her arms. Friday mornings Sadie has feeding/speech therapy. And Sadie sees the physical therapist twice a week on Wednesday and Friday mornings. When we got approved for these therapies, Annie, who works at the Dept of Developmental Disabilities (she's our coordinator from the state) sent me a list that was like 90 pages long. I weeded through that list for days, calling everyone I could to find therapists that were home-based. Sadie screamed in the car and it was unrealistic for us to go to therapy. But, we live in some kind of therapy black hole and many don't come to our specific neighborhood. We do travel to go to PT (which Annie told me we were lucky to even HAVE PT at Sadie's age), but everyone else comes to us, which makes my life so much easier (right, like my life is easy).
Our PT, Tami, doesn't come to our house, but she is worth driving to...and when we move, I plan to continue to make the 45+ minute drive to take Sadie to see her twice a week. Tami is not just a therapist, like Dr. Wendy, she is also a friend. She is a huge advocate for special needs children in our community, and she's like a "lending closet" and never hesitates to let us borrow something indefinitely. Tami is the one who introduced us to the Chill-Out Chair and let us borrow hers for like 6 months until we were able to get one of our own. And recently she gave us a high chair that someone donated to her because their kid had grown out of it. She is generous and kind and has such a positive outlook for Sadie's future. Tami gave me hope in the area of potty training. Tami keeps me positive about Sadie walking. Tami takes time out of her schedule to attend our other appointments like wheelchair fittings, and the spasticity clinic. Everybody knows Tami and everybody likes Tami and I feel lucky to have Tami in our lives. I would hate to have to leave her.
There are a number of amazing things we have access to just because we live in a big city with a very prominent children's hospital. There is The Foundation for Blind Children with all its resources and programs. There is United Cerebral Palsy, which has a childcare facility set up for special needs children. I'm hoping we can start taking Sadie after we move just so she can be around other kids a couple of days a week. We have a ballet company that includes all children, special needs and typical and puts on fabulous productions that use everyone no matter their ability (watch a video here). And there's the ADAPT Shop, which we're just learning about. The ADAPT Shop is through Southwest Human Development and provides low-tech solutions to those with physical challenges. We're hoping to get something called a Happy Chair through them soon. This is a chair that is built according to Sadie's size and needs that will support her where she needs it, but also encourage her to sit independently. I'm really excited to be taking part in this program.
Before we had kids, we discussed someday moving out of Phoenix, but things are different now, and you can see why it's beneficial for us to stay here. And these just scratch the surface. There are friends, other families, respite providers, events to attend, etc. Sure, things will change when we move across town. We'll have some different therapists and things, but I know enough people now to ask for referrals so that I don't have to wade through another huge long list of names of authorized agencies.
And in case you were wondering and waiting to hear what happened with Brian's job, he got the call and we're not moving to Las Vegas. His job changed a little, but as far as anything that effects me, or our family as a whole, everything's the same...only he'll probably be traveling less, which means he gets to be with us more often. So, we move forward with our plan to live here for the rest of our lives.